Unless of course Arsenal are practicing mithridatism and that too to no real effect, there is no apparent reason for their inconsistency every now and then.
In fact, being inconsistent is actually the only thing consistent in Arsenal’s case, which explains the exits in the FA Cup to Watford (who saw that coming?) and the Champions League to Barcelona, both the defeats characterised by same patterns – lack of a cutting edge in the final third.
Similar patterns of performances have previously dented the Gunners’ title hopes too. Of the 64 shots they’ve fired in their previous four fixtures, only 19 have been on target whereas only seven of those (on target) have found the back of the net as compared to the eight they’ve themselves let in.
The most recent example of just how wasteful Arsenal are in front of goal came against Barcelona, when the visitors registered a total of 19 shots (Barcelona had 17 shots), of which only four were on target.
Neither the mid-field nor the defence have been as guilty as the forwards of being responsible for most of the disappointing results the North Londoners have produced over the past two months.
Chance after chance goes down begging, and all of a sudden, the opponent strikes to kill the game.
That’s what Arsenal’s story has been. If it stays as it is, this season may well be one of the worst they’ve had with Arsenal now closer to dropping out of the top four than they are to Leicester City, even though they still are in the title race.
Just wonder what kind of an impact could a defeat or even a draw at Goodison Park against Everton this week could have on their title chances and this time around, their prospects of finishing in the top four as well.
Truth be told, Arsenal are at the peak of their fragility and a defeat to Everton looks a better bet than a victory or even a draw; reason being, Arsene Wenger’s side look dead and buried.
There’s not a lot of inspiration coming from anywhere – not even their Duracell Alexis Sanchez – and you add to that, Mesut Ozil’s frustrations are starting to reflect in his performances, understandably so for someone who’s thrown his all into the season and isn’t still guaranteed a trophy; similar performances at Bayern Munich or FC Barcelona could’ve earned him a treble.
Other players are going through a similar patch – they don’t look like they are fully focused or interested. Arsene Wenger himself is too wounded to lift his team up, in which case the responsibility of doing that shifts back to the team.
If they have ambitions, the intensity of the efforts has to match those ambitions.
Now 11 points behind league leaders with a game in hand, the task is already an uphill one.
Well realistically, it’s virtually impossible from hereon, but stranger things have happened this term, which is why Arsenal need to dust themselves off and start afresh with the belief of turning the season around with a relatively easier run of fixtures to follow – easier than Tottenham Hotspur or Leicester City.
The need to rediscover that hunger and the ebullience they displayed in their style of play earlier in the season, is higher than ever.
A win this week, followed by a timely international break from Arsenal’s point of view could result in that spark they are currently lacking.
But, as always, the question is, are Arsenal up for it?